While most Delawareans stayed up past midnight to see President Obama re-elected, local races in Delaware were pretty much decided as the polls closed. Actually, let’s be honest. They were decided weeks ago.
The fact that Democrats Governor Markell, Senator Carper and Congressman Carney sailed to easy re-elections can’t simply be explained by Delaware’s current status as a left-leaning state. While Republicans will always have a hard time getting statewide candidates elected in such a Blue state, it is possible if you have strong enough candidates. Bill Roth was a stalwart Republican in the U.S. Senate for nearly 25 years. So was Mike Castle, who lasted almost 20 years in Congress before getting outed by everyone’s favorite non-witch. The problem this time around had more to do with weak GOP candidates than anything Democrats could muster. State GOP chairman John Sigler told my colleague Mark Eichmann, “We have a lot of work to do but we’ve accomplished an awful lot.” What have you accomplished, exactly? Fielding another slate of uninspiring, milk-toast candidates is hardly the path forward. Jeff Cragg was was nothing more than a placeholder against the popular Markell, and Kevin Wade couldn’t overcome Alex Pires media-stealing antics. The only potentially legitimate candidate, Tom Kovach, correctly ran as a moderate Republican seeking to work with Democrats, but since Carney has been a model of bipartisanship, he gave little incentive to Delawareans weary of the rightward drift of the Republican party to vote for him (incidentally, I’m looking forward to finding out why he ran for Congress instead of New Castle County Executive, a race he could have won against the once-convicted Tom Gordon). So here’s a suggestion to the Delaware GOP: Work on your bench. I know you got blindsided by Christie O’Donnell, but you can only blame Delaware’s national embarrassment for so long. My advice would be to start working on convincing Alan Levin, former owner of Happy Harry’s and current head of the Delaware Economic Development Office, to run for Governor in 2016. He’d be a strong, credible candidate, something the state’s bruised GOP sorely needs. Otherwise, look forward to more lost elections by Mike Protack and other wackadoos from the far right. Who knows, maybe third times the charm for Glen Urquhart. —– Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. See more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.